Happy Thursday, Blawg Pound. Not a bad day to be alive. The Indians earned a much needed W on Wednesday night, I’m considering buying a pack of smokes to stave off the withdrawal symptoms from a lack of playoff basketball (but it means the Cavs are in the playoffs), and with the NFL Draft starting Thursday night, even the Browns have a reason to be optimistic until they inevitably botch their first round picks. Joe and the other folks at WFNY have been on draft coverage like Kawhi Leonard on a nervous ball-handler, and WFNY will have plenty more today and in the next several days as we all violently overreact to every decision GM Ray Farmer and the Browns make this weekend. But while we’re waiting… .
As if there weren’t enough reasons to be bummed about the Kevin Love injury, Chris Haynes wrote about Love’s state of mind immediately before his injury that will sideline him for the next 4-6 months. Anyone who followed the Cavs closely this year is well aware that it was a very love-and-hate season for Kevin regarding his role on the team and Cavaliers fans toward the three-time All-Star forward. Lost in all the ruckus over the cleanliness or dirtiness of the Kelly Olynyk play and how the void left by Love affects the Cavs going forward is how badly the injury must have hurt Love not just physically, but mentally, emotionally, and psychologically.
Haynes thoughtfully reconstructed the scene of the crime on Sunday, describing how meaningful it was to Love to finally be in the playoffs, how he was healthy and feeling well for the first time in months, how he was blossoming into his role as the facilitating stretch-four the Cavs needed him to be, and how the playoffs had inspired and reinvigorated Love.
An average of 18.3 points, 9.0 rebounds and 47 percent shooting from 3-point range in his first three postseason games illustrates that second wind he caught. It was a new season for him, and at the time it was the healthiest he had been all year for the Cavaliers.
The back was good and the knees weren’t an issue. All was well.
“I feel pretty damn good,” he said.
Love was operating in a good place.
The power forward was so proud of his Game 2 halfcourt alley-oop reverse dunk in Game 2. He brought it up unprompted a few times that afternoon.
“You didn’t think I had that in me,” Love said to me with a dead stare. “I still got it from time to time. Don’t count me out. This is the best I’ve felt in a long time. I think you can see it in my bounce with that spectacular dunk,” Love said in jest.
“But seriously, I feel good.”
I was a habitual defender (using the past tense there still feels wrong) of Love’s all season, but Kevin Love exhibited a level of confidence and comfort in Game 3 of the Celtics series that fans hadn’t seen all season. The top eight players in the rotation had seemingly found those pockets on the court where they felt at home, operating with deadly efficiency. On Tuesday’s B.S. Report with Brian Windhorst, Bill Simmons lamented, “I thought of any Cleveland game I watched this year, [Game 3] seemed like the one that Love fit in the best. … They seemed like they had finally all figured out how to space the floor.” Windhorst echoed, “[T]hey were in such rhythm as a basketball team.”
It’s a shame that Love had to be knocked out when he had been waiting his entire career for this opportunity. He was mostly an obedient and dutiful soldier for the Cavs, tolerating a lot of tumult and anxiety through the season as he adjusted to a diminished role from the one he had become accustomed to in Minnesota for the Timberwolves. Beyond winning a championship, I sincerely think Love wanted to prove to Cavs fans that he was worthy of their admiration. Though I don’t think Kelly Olynyk intended to injure Love,1 it was a goon play that was reckless, blatantly unnecessary, and worthy of more than the laughable suspension it received.
Who knows if we’ll ever see Love in a Cavs jersey again. But Love’s career may have been forever altered by a tragic stint for the Cavs, which makes him more of a genuine Clevelander than he ever could have been before. As Haynes said, Love probably didn’t deserve this, but to quote Clint Eastwood’s Bill Munny from Unforgiven, when it comes to winning championships, “Deserve’s got nothing to do with it.” At least the Cavs have LeBron James.
Wait, don’t move! Perfect — because I have an inspiring call for inaction! Alex Allen at Pinch & Zoom wrote about the science of trolling and (spoiler alert) trolls — as their namesake implies — tend to be uncool people. Alex first took a look at some of the troll archetypes (I’m probably one part meme spammer and one part spell-checker, if anything), and then looks at some of the research on why trolls engage in their inflammatory behavior.
>Whichever age you care to point to throughout our history, there have always been people who got their kicks from making other people miserable.But it’s more than that.Trolls aren’t just the product of sadistic urges, there’s a self loving, narcissistic layer to this onion of hate, too – and it really boils down to this:
Their purpose and actions are only validated by engagement and the subsequent reaction. The gratification doesn’t come from posting the comment per se, it’s a transaction that’s only completed when they receive a response to it.Research from Stanford and Cornell about antisocial behaviour in discussion communities found that Internet trolls ‘receive more replies than average users, suggesting that they might be successful in luring others into fruitless, time-consuming discussions.’
We’ve each had our share of internet interactions where someone seems like he or she is trying to elicit an angry reaction. Well … that’s because it’s kind of the goal. But unlike social change, the best way to solve this problem is to do nothing at all. Hell, I can do that. But it’s something to keep in mind next time a troll won’t let you pass a rhetorical bridge without the magic words: the password is sweet silence.
There are many bands out there with cultlike followings that never breach the walls of popular culture. Some prominent examples include the Dave Matthews Band, Radiohead, and Umphrey’s McGee as bands that qualify for this type of treatment.2 It’s not even the popularity that distinguishes them, but rather the fervor with which their fans follow them; it’s an obsession. Most people either “get it” or look at you as if you just spoke Martian when you say one of them is your favorite band. There’s seldom a middle road.
Though I usually defer to Andrew and Craig as the more knowledgeable contemporary music fans at WFNY, I wanted to talk about My Morning Jacket with the impending release of their new album The Waterfall coming next week. I’m a card-carrying MMJ cult member, and you should give them a chance if you’ve never listened to them. Grantland‘s Steven Hyden appropriately described My Morning Jacket as “[t]oo jammy for indie fans and too indie for jam-band fans, [so] MMJ resides in a weird zone between too popular for the underground and not popular enough to qualify for stardom.” Maybe that doesn’t sound as enticing as it is, but they have a world-class live reputation and Jim James is a larger-than-life front man.
The Waterfall has a chance to be Jacket’s best live album since 2005’s Z and 2002’s It Still Moves, and Hyden labeled it as much. Arena-less arena rock, it’s music that begs to be blared out over acres of open space. In a hateful world filled with negative vibes, Jacket is a bottomless well of positive feelings. Their live catalog is deep and fantastic, with a few great covers always sprinkled in like Lionel Ritchie’s “All Night Long” and George Michael’s “Careless Whisper.” Check out the lyrically bizarre and guitar-rocking “Spring” from The Waterfall below, or listen to some of their live stuff.3 If you don’t dig it, please forgive the cult soliciting, and go back to hating on my basketball opinions instead.
Now let’s recover with your random 90s song of the day. Temple of the Dog’s “Hunger Strike” is unquestionably one of the best and most-nineties 90s songs ever. Seeing Chris Cornell and Eddie Vedder in the same music video is like watching Kyrie Irving throw an alley-oop pass to LeBron James, or the diner scene from Heat in which Al Pacino and Robert DeNiro are finally battling wits onscreen together. So much awesome; put it on repeat and thank me later.